Complex Home Network

I have just moved into a flat with 7 other guys. They currently have two ADSL2 connections coming in, both syncing at around 18 meg downstream for a combined 36 meg. There is no flat wide LAN setup right now, therefore 3 guys are connecting wired/wirelessly to one router and 4 to the other. Obviously, for gaming and filesharing this is less than ideal so I'd like to LAN everyone together, 8 pcs + servers/consoles etc.

On the network I plan to have a server machine running as a DNS/DHCP/teamspeak/fileserver/VPN gateway/webserver, although the latter two roles are just for me to play around with. There is a possibility of having a 2nd fileserver but I'm not sure about that at this point. Also in the flat are 3 PS3s and two Xbox 360s which all require internet connectivity. I would like to have at least one wireless access point on the network for laptops/PDAs/smartphones.

I'm relatively happy with creating the internal LAN segment of the network: I have two gigabit switches and will use two cables to connect them together to hopefully avoid any bottlenecks. The 8 computers, server(s), wirless access point and other wired devices will all just be plugged into the switches. Nice and simple so far.

This issue comes with the 2 ADSL connections. The connections will used for gaming, browsing and downloading (torrent/newsgroups etc). Therefore both ping and speed should be as good as possible. I want to make the most of the available bandwidth.

I know I can manually configure the DHCP leasing in Server 2003 to assign devices equally between each gateway. However, this has the potential to not make the best use of the two connections and could lead to one connection being saturated whilst the other is barely used. Does anyone know of a better way to configure this?

I've heard of load balancing and bonded lines but it's a bit of a minefield and it's beginning to get past what I know confortably. I'm sure there are enterprise level solutions but I don't have that kind of money to spend! I could stretch to maybe £150 if there was a hardware solution but ideally I'd like to do it in software. I have no doubt that there is probably an obscure linux distro. designed specifically to do this!

If anyone can spot any flaws in my plan please let me know. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any advice.
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More about complex home network
  1. Create two subnets: and Manually set the IP addresses and set the gateways. Split up the PC use for each connection to use.. trial and error to see which works best. Simple changes and less hassle with the small amount of PCs you have.

    I would say you're over complicating a simple solution.
  2. Hey hey

    Alright, sorta at work so don't have access to my normal ebay resources...but. If you have 150 pounds to burn..get a used dual WAN router. Load balancing and everything that you could ever want :)
  3. What type of switches are they, are teh managed switches? If so and correct me if i'm wrong but couldn't you bind the two ports together and configuring load balancing. Depends on what kind of switched you've got though. If not then go with what Riser has suggested only i'd run a DHCP server as well incase i had friends over.
  4. Maybe I'm seeing this incorrectly, but you could create one of the machines as the switch. Windows can bridge two or more ethernet connections and does a decent job of sending traffic through the lesser used pipe. Inbound wouldnt work but unless you had an enterorise F5 or something most switches would provide the same performance.

    This way, you could start tweaking and work up to creating a domain and DHCP server relatively easily. When Cable and DSL were just coming available, I had my DSL first and waited until Comcast reachd me. Well for two months I bridged them and it was insane. Any delays were not from me, if the cable bogged down it went out the DSL line and Vice versa. Actually considering it again, but Comcast has us up to 12MBps and I haven't come close to maxing.
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